Death — and undeath — is an eventuality in the world of The Walking Dead. Unlike other shows, series regulars are unexpectedly — and violently — killed off. Here are the 14 saddest deaths from the show, ranked.
14. Denise Cloyd
Episode killed: “Twice As Far” (Season 6, Episode 14)
Poor Denise. She was forced into becoming Alexandria’s doctor after Pete Anderson was executed, despite suffering from severe anxiety. Her death was one of the most unexpected in the show’s history; she was shot in the head by Dwight literally mid-sentence while talking about her newfound confidence. Not only did Denise die away from her girlfriend Tara Chambler, she wasn’t able to deliver the orange soda she scavenged for her. Not to mention she’s another victim of the whole #BuryYourGays trope.
13. Beth Greene
Episode killed: “Coda” (Season 5, Episode 8)
Beth’s death was one of the most unnecessary in the show. Rick had negotiated for her release from Grady Memorial Hospital, but during the exchange, Beth stabbed her captor Dawn Lerner with a stolen pair of scissors. Instinctively, Dawn pulled our her firearm and shot Beth in the head. Daryl then shot Dawn in the head. The only thing sadder than Beth’s death was Maggie’s reaction when Daryl emerged with the body of her little sister.
12. Jacqui and Dr. Jenner
Episode killed: “Some Guy” (Season 8, Episode 4)
Shiva, King Ezekiel’s loyal tiger, was once a zoo attraction. During the outbreak, Ezekiel freed her, and she helped him establish his royal persona. Shiva saved Carl by pouncing on Negan right before he was going to bash his head in. She was separated from Ezekiel after the Kingdom warriors were ambushed by the Saviors, and died saving her injured master from a horde of walkers.
10. Andrea Harrison
Episode killed: “Welcome to the Tombs” (Season 3, Episode 16)
Andrea’s death was her ultimate redemption. She allied herself with The Governor in attempts to broker peace between his Woodbury community and the Atlanta survivors. Eventually, she realized she had to kill The Governor, but she and Milton Mamet got captured instead. The Governor stabbed Milton, knowing he would turn and attack Andrea. She put up a good fight but was badly bitten. Rather than accepting her fate, she committed suicide with her companion Michonne by her side.
Episode killed: “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” (Season 7, Episode 16)
Sasha was a warrior. She stormed Negan’s Sanctuary singlehanded and got captured in the process. Negan locked Sasha in a coffin in order to deliver her to Rick. Knowing this would be her only chance to get close to him, Sasha swallowed cyanide pills, knowing that she would reanimate and catch the Savior leader off-guard. Her sacrifice helped save Alexandria, at least temporarily.
Episode killed: “The Grove” (Season 4, Episode 14)
In one of the more twisted storylines on the show, Lizzie Samuels was a young girl who thought the dead did not pose a threat. To prove her point, she murdered her own sister, Mika, and planned to kill Judith as well. Realizing she was a threat, a tearful Carol ended up shooting Lizzie in the back of the head.
7. Dale Horvath
Episode killed: “Judge, Jury, Executioner” (Season 2, Episode 11)
Dale was one of the original Atlanta survivors and served as the moral compass of the group. He regularly debated group decisions, from leaving a dying Jim on the side of the road to whether or not they should kill the walkers in the Greene farmhouse.
Like Beth, Dale’s death was completely avoidable. He was disemboweled by a walker that Carl Grimes had taunted in the swamp, and eventually put out of his misery by Daryl.
6. Merle Dixon
Episode killed: “This Sorrowful Life” (Season 3, Episode 15)
Merle was one of the more complicated characters on the show. He was all about self-preservation, sawing off his own handcuffed hand to escape walkers and later aligning himself with the powerful Governor. Rather than turn Michonne over to the Governor, Merle devised a plan to assassinate him. Unfortunately, the Governor gained the upper hand, shooting Merle in the chest. Daryl was then forced to put his older brother down in one of the saddest scenes in the series.
Episode killed: “Too Far Gone” (Season 4, Episode 8)
Merle wasn’t The Governor’s only victim. Hershel and Michonne were captured by The Governor and kept as hostages. Rick pleads for the Governor to let them go, saying that nobody is “too far gone.” However, the Governor calls Rick a “liar,” and then partially decapitates Hershel with Michonne’s katana, much to the horror of his daughters. The Governor violently hacks Hershel’s head off in a fit of rage.
Episode killed: “Pretty Much Dead Already” (Season 2, Episode 7)
Sophia, the only daughter of Carol and Ed Peletier, managed to survive the exodus of Atlanta with her mom. But during a herd attack, she got separated from the group. At some point, Sophia was attacked by a walker and turned. Otis found her and put her in the Greene family farm while the group searched for her, thinking she was still alive. It was only after Shane ripped the chains off the barn doors that they learned Sophia’s fate — she was nearby the entire time. Rick ended up shooting her in the head in front of a distraught Carol.
3. Carl Grimes
Episode killed: “Honor” (Season 8, Episode 9)
Carl was one of the few children to survive the zombie apocalypse into young adulthood. He bitten by a walker while trying to rescue Siddiq. He kept his injury a secret from his loved ones, writing letters to each. His condition slowly worsened, and he made emotional farewells to his sister Judith (who he gave Rick’s hat to), his “best friend” Michonne, and finally his father, Rick. His dying messages were ones of hope and love. Like Andrea, Carl chose to shoot himself in the head so he wouldn’t turn after his death. Rick and Michonne waited outside, and flinched when the silencer went off. They buried him in the Alexandria graveyard.
2. Glenn Rhee
Episode killed: “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” (Season 7, Episode 1)
Glenn was another of the original Atlanta survivors. He rescued Rick from the tank in the show’s second episode, and like Dale, served as the conscience for the group. He fell in love and eventually wed Maggie Greene. When Rick’s group was captured by the Saviors, Glenn and the others watched in horror as Negan smashed Abraham’s head in with his bat, Lucille. Moments later, Glenn would face the same fate as Negan felt the group wasn’t punished enough. He left behind his pregnant wife and many shocked fans.
1. Lori Grimes
Episode killed: “Killer Within” (Season 3, Episode 4)
Rick’s wife Lori survived after both the survivor camp and Greene farm were overrun. She became pregnant during that time, and thought the prison would be a safe place to give birth to and raise a daughter. When walkers attacked the prison, she, Maggie and Carl got separated from the rest. Lori went into labor. Fearing that a stillborn baby would reanimate and rip her apart from the inside, Lori plead with Maggie to conduct an emergency C-section. Maggie hesitantly cut Lori open and delivered a healthy baby Judith. Dying from blood loss, Lori uttered her final words to Carl: “You’re so good. My sweet boy. Best thing I ever did … I love you! I love you. My sweet, sweet boy, I love you! Goodnight, love.”
Carl then shot his mom in the head to prevent her from reanimating. He then had to tell his despondent dad that she had died.
Do you agree with our picks? Let us know via @getfandom on Twitter and test even more of your Walking Dead knowledge with the quiz below.